It’s no classic Christmas special, but what is? If you’re looking for more seasonal animated entertainment, try Happiness Is… Peanuts: Snow Days. This short DVD includes two mini-features: She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, and episode 18 of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, both new to DVD.
She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown focuses on Peppermint Patty training for a skating competition, coached by Snoopy, but it’s full of the usual Peanuts gags, as though the strips themselves were animated. It originally aired in 1980. I’ve never seen a Patty-focused episode before, and it was an interesting change. I particularly liked getting more Marcie; she works on Patty’s costume.
Another item unusual to the Peanuts viewer: Patty has a conversation with her teacher, and the adult isn’t a waa-waa trombone, but an actual voice. Many of the jokes focus on having to get up early to practice, and the various characters falling asleep as a result. The skating sessions are calming and beautifully seasonal, especially the ones set outdoors on a pond. For those alone, this is a great episode for the winter months.
The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show episode is “Sally’s Sweet Babboo”, featuring three segments. “The Play” begins with Charlie Brown writing an essay about his most interesting Christmas. He and Sally are trying to sell homemade wreaths to raise money for the holiday play, while the other kids prepare for their roles. Of course, the play collapses in entertaining fashion. Here’s a clip:
“Sweet Babboo!” is a Valentine segment, with stories about the kids hoping for cards from those they’re interested in, while Sally obsesses about Linus. “Snoopy’s Story” is another Patty-centric section, as she writes about how extraordinary a dog Snoopy is, bringing together clips of everything he’s done.
The “Happiness Is… Peanuts” DVD line has two other collections: Snoopy’s Adventures (out now) and Friends Forever (due in two weeks). Each one contains an episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show along with one of the prime-time specials and lists for $14.98. This is Warner’s third packaging try, after stalling out on Deluxe Editions that combined two prime-time specials (such as I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown) with a new featurette for $19.98. Then came the decade collections, such as the 1960’s Collection, that contained six episodes for $29.98.
While collectors (like us) prefer the bigger sets with special features and would rather buy a season set of the 18 Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show episodes, these new “Happiness Is… Peanuts” discs allow for cheaper family shopping. They’re obviously aimed at the kids’ audience, and since all the Peanuts cartoons are new to the younger viewer, special features are no longer needed. At least a new generation is getting to experience the appeal of these characters. (The studio provided a review copy.)